Jul 16, 2010

Loving all these comments!

Wow, I am really loving all of these comments on the last 2 posts. It would be awesome to have more discussion here, so keep it coming ladies!

I was giggling so much reading Andrea's comment about wanting "scary arms". I have been flexing as a party trick since I was in high school -- I love blowing people's minds with my bi's and tri's. :-p And I am with you on the big legs. When my "side quad" first started popping out from squats, I was sooooo excited!

Angie got her stats up in her sidebar already, and OMG -- her 1RM on OHS is 110! That must be getting close to body weight, am I right? That kicks so much ass. :-D

Can't wait to see your stats too Kelsalynn!

Oh, and KD and Sara, you ladies need to join in the fun as well, since you were my original CrossFit mentors. :)

I'm still freaking sick. What a pain. Especially since I'll be in and out of the pool tomorrow for my Water Safety Instructor class, plus I'll be teaching 4 10 minute swim lessons. KILL ME NOW. At least I might have a tiny bit of a voice by then -- I'm actually able to force out some real sounds and not just whispers today.

When I hit the urgent care clinic on Monday I wore this shirt to help myself feel super tough. Bad ass, eh? :-D

If you watch the Games live web cast, watch out for Kate!

And finally, my real reason for today's post.

Last night I was hacking up a lung, so I gave up on trying to lay in bed and got up and watched some TV and also looked at some stuff on the computer. Since it was late, that meant lots of new WODs had been posted that I could look at! Yay! Yes, I am such a CrossFit geek that I am subscribed to the blogs of several affiliates so I can check out lots of different WODs. :)

Anyway, CF KoP included a link within today's WOD post. And it got me so freaking excited, because it is *exactly* what I need right now.

Among all of my WOD "catchup" posts, I posted about a very bad day that I had with a WOD that involved muscle ups. At the end I said I'd like to do strict muscle up progressions moving forward -- the only problem with that plan was my not actually knowing how to go about doing that. All the MU progressions I knew about involve assisting a kipping-based transition.

This is the same spot I've been in before with gymnastics (body weight) movements. I want to practice, I'm dying to improve -- but everything I try to practice, I can't actually do yet. It is a totally frustrating place to be in, and in all honesty I don't handle it well. AT ALL.

I can remember when I couldn't do a dead hang pullup with the green band. Not being able to get my chin over that bar made me feel like an utter failure. Lately when I've failed at attempts to do pullups on the rings while maintaining a false grip, I feel that same way. Or when I've had to resort back to a band on ring dips when my strength gives out. It's like I bottom out.

What I have to remind myself is that I didn't get better at pullups until I started working on them every time I was in the gym. If a WOD didn't include pullups, then I was on the bar doing some afterwards. Even if it was just 5 or 10.

But also, there was an incremental nature to my pullups, once I did manage to get going on the green band. There's a next step -- blue. Then white. Then mental floss. Then you're ready to kip and deadhang unassisted. That ability to progress incrementally is what's lacking in my muscle up practice.

So, back to what I watched last night. An incredible video with several options for progressions that work toward a strict muscle up. Hallelujah! And they are brilliant progressions in that you can easily measure your success and incrementally increase difficulty in each one -- foot placement, bands, used, etc. (If you don't subscribe to the CF Journal, do it now, it's worth $25/year)

This is where gymnastics is so frustrating, and so rewarding. You get in these "sticking points" where you can't do the movement yet, and you're not even sure how to go about getting there. But once you get on the path of the proper progressions and start practicing, next thing you know you've amazed yourself!

It's in these "sticking points" that you realize how little you know. I feel fortunate that I'm experiencing these moments as an athlete, because I think it's making me a much better coach. If I had the brute strength and "balls to wall" attitude to just fling myself up into a muscle up, I would not be looking at progressions like this. And I would less educated and less prepared to help others who need a much more incremental approach to practice.

And this highlights something fundamental that makes CrossFit special to me. With all the skills that are incorporated, CrossFit puts me into these incredibly uncomfortable positions, where I'm consumed with "I can'ts" and my outlook gets to bleak. But when I persevere, next thing I know, I'm doing things I never thought would be possible.

Last year at this time I was 20 pounds heavier, and hiding inside all day because I hated the heat and hated living in Georgia and hated myself. I had just purchased summer clothes in bigger sizes because I didn't think I was going to take the weight off. It would be another month of misery before I even considered getting back to the gym.

11 month later, and I've just completed Murph as Rx. Yeah, it took me 90 minutes, but who cares? I got that shit done! Freaking amazing.

And can I just take a moment to be snarky? There's no way in hell these changes would've happened via elliptical machines, Zumba classes and Jillian videos. :-D

One final thought on muscle ups. If you're a chick, and you have a kipping pullup and you can do a couple rings dips, have you considered adding this skill to your goals? Has your coach encouraged you in that direction?

As a coach, I think I want to bring this skill down from "holy grail" category and help my athletes perceive it as just another skill that is scalable and achievable for them, with time and practice.

And by "scalable" I sure as hell don't mean doing gazillions of pullups and dips on any day where MU's are programmed. I personally think that's total fucking crap. Let's start subbing movements with progressions of that movement people. (This is a pet peeve of mine, along with substitutions for rope climbs)

I'm making it my mission to make sure the ladies at my gym are setting their sights on going for a muscle up from the very moment after they get their kipping  or deadhang pullups.

I think when you're just exiting the process of achieving unassisted pullups, you're used to being in that "sticky" zone, you're used to being uncomfortable. And the key is to keep one step ahead, and introduce a new "sticky" skill, so the athlete never has the chance to adjust back to being very comfortable. It's hard to get yourself back into the uncomfortable place once you're feeling a little cocky that you can do pullups Rx. At least that's how things have played out for me. It has been hell trying to push myself back to that place, but I'm working on it.

Also, more chicks on the rings for dips, please. Off the bars and onto the rings!

PS - I'm gonna be making some more videos of my work on gymnastics stuff. Be prepared to laugh because I'm sure to make an ass of myself doing HSPUs. :-D


  1. Great post! Keep working on those muscle-ups, you'll get them.

    I need to be able to do a ring dip first :-P I still do them modified w/ my feet on the floor slightly.

    I got some stats up on my blog but I don't have very many. Some of the movements I've never done 1 rep or 3 rep maxes. I'm going to start working on them slowly though so I can have some benchmarks to improve on.

  2. I'm inspired to learn muscle ups after watching the games this weekend. WOW! It'll be a while though. Ha ha.
    As for my 1RM OHS, I guess it is approaching body weight...I weigh 145 so yeah, 35 more lbs. Yikes. Maybe I should lose some weight. :)

  3. You always pack so much great info into each of your blog posts... my mind is spinning! I want you to know I love coming over here.

    I am working hard toward my goal of kipping and deadhang pull-ups. I am seeing great progress! As for muscle-ups, Daniel (who is an awesome coach!) is working me through the movements so I can learn how to do them. Truthfully, sometimes I get overwhelmed and frustrated with myself for not being able to do some of these fundamental movements. But then I have to remember that I am out there in our garage gym 3 on 1 off, faithfully working hard. It takes time. And it will come. There's no time cap... so thankful for that.

  4. We learned some awesome progressions at my cert! I have really enjoyed working them. They actually said that the Glassman's put up 120 pull-ups and ring dips for a sub so that people would just go practice MUs...they didn't think people would actually do the 120s for a sub!

    And yes...you have to work those pesky skills every. single. day. Right now I really need to focus on DUs. They kill me!

  5. Donkey again...

    Thanks for the link to the MU progression. we ARE going to get them, absolutely.

    i am doing false grip work every time i go to the box now. i already have wrist callouses. w00T!

    kudos on Murph. haven't tried that one yet.